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Honda Civic: Problems & Solutions



  • fe203fe203 Posts: 21
    Check the front sway bar bushings as well. These bushings wear giving the sway bar room to move when going over bumps. The bushings cost about $4 each & take about 20 min each to install
  • ncampbell2002ncampbell2002 Posts: 163
    You might have a bubble in the cooling system causing this ocassional overheating. Try purging the cooling system of air bubbles and see if that helps. The other thing I could think of is that your head gasket might be starting to go which unfortunately is an expensive repair.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,798

    A friend of mine has a 1994 Honda Civic GLi. Anyway, on the weekend, we tried to instal a new audio system in his car. Anyway, when we were trying to instal the front right speaker, we tried to take apart the door panel but we couldn't, even after taking off the wiring. So after we found that we couldn't take it apart, we connected everything back together, and attached the door panel back and everything seems fine. However now the lock doesn't seem to be working properly. Although the door still opens and closes and locks when the door is closed, the lock would not budge when the door is open. Although this is not a very big problem since you do not lock when the door is open anyway, I was wondering what we may have done to have caused this and if anyone knows how to fix it.

    Thanks a lot in advance,

    Are you in UK or other country that drives on the "wrong side"? GLi is not a US moniker for Honda line. This would explain why you can't lock the right door. Because it would be the driver's door. On any Honda since 1972, the driver's door can not be locked while open. This was done to prevent people from locking their keys inside. You can lock it from the outside with a key, or while the door is open, pull the inside door handle open while pressing the lock. Don't forget your keys in the car though!
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,798
    Ok. My honda runs fine most of the time, then every once in a while it overheats- both at freeway speeds and/or around town. It is strange, getting really hot, then cools off and is fine for no appear reason. It normally runs at perfect temp, but then spikes up occasionally nearing the red zone. I noticed when driving on curvy roads that when I turn right it cools down to normal temp sometimes, but when I go left it does not cool down. It sometimes heats right up again. First I thought it was the gauge, but one day it was running hot for a few miles, going down at times, but mostly running too hot, and it did actually overheat and push steam out. So, I changed the thermostat, and no luck. I have been watching it very closely, and it is mostly fine, but I know this can lead to very serious problems if I can't figure out the problem to fix it. I wonder about the water pump, but the "on then off" nature of the problem combined with the possible correlation of turning, makes me wonder if it could be an electrical connection issue. It goes from normal to hot and back to normal very quickly, indicating to me that it is not a normal overheating situation.
    Hoping some genius can help-
    thanks -kai

    Not claiming to be a genius, but I can try and lead you in the right direction. When was the water pump replaced? Seems like you know what to look for, and if it is overheating at highway speeds, that means that the electrical cooling fan is not the culprit. LEt's start from the point where you said you saw steam. The cooling system is a closed loop. There should be no steam coming from anywhere. If you see steam, there is a leak. Find and Fix the leak, pressure test the system, test the radiator cap.

    The other two possibilities are low coolant level, and low coolant flow. The level can be checked when the car has been stting overnight, check the radiator, if low fill to the neck. USE HONDA 50/50 ANTIFREEZE. Then start her up and let the cooling fan come on twice and check the overflow tank. It should be at the high mark.

    Coolant flwo is difficult to test without proper equipment, but you can try. This is where I have to put a disclaimer, that you will be doing it at your own risk and may get hurt. Open the radiator cap, start the car, let her warm up. As the car is warming up the coolant will rise and start spilling. Once the cooling fans come on the coolant level will lower ans you should be able to see into the radiator. You should see the coolant move in the radiator and if you pull on the throttle the flow will increase with the increase in engine RPM. Once the fans stop, the coolant will start gushing out again, and will scald you if you are not carefull.

    Another culprit is the wrong coolant concentration. Alot of shops don't bother with 50/50 dilution and just dump some antifreeze into the radiator and then pour some tap water.
    1) the ratio is not 50/50
    2/) Tap water is bad because of the dissolved minerals. I use DI water, but not many people have access to De-Ionizers, you can use Distilled water from the grocery store.

    But the best thing since sliced bread is Honda OEM 50/50 Antifreeze which is only like $5-$6/gallon at the dealer. First of all, aftermarket antifreeses (Prestone, Sierra, ect.) may contain silicates, which will destroy an aluminum water pump. Secondly, you don't have to dilute it and look for Distilled water, it is ready to be poured.

    Good luck
  • tjjonestjjones Posts: 7
    The hoses are fine. None collapsing. I also reinstalled the original thermostat. It is still over heating. I'm pretty sure I have a major problem. While there is no evidence of oil in the coolant, the vehicle bellows white smoke when I crank it in the morning. I will testing it with a block tester to verify a possible combustion leak into the coolant.
  • rizzrizz Posts: 2
    Yes, I am in Australia and Thanks a lot for that blueiedgod. Because my friend who owns the car keeps saying that you can lock the door when the door is open. So yeh I just wanted to make sure that it was nothing that we did. Thanks a lot once again for the explanation.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,603
    Your Civic probably has a blown head gasket.
  • tjjonestjjones Posts: 7
    The block test verified I have a combustion leak into the coolant. I'm now driving my gas guzzeling dodge until I can make repairs. This will be the first time I have attempted something this indepth on any type of car maintenance. Wish me luck. :sick:
  • sirdonsirdon Posts: 10
    hi Rolf,
    I have a 1993 civic dx that had the same problem. it was diagnosed by a reputable auto repair shop prior to me receiving the car. the problem is most likely the sparl plug wires. i had mine changed and the problem was no longer there.

    good luck ;)
  • sirdonsirdon Posts: 10
    Hi Kai,
    Sounds like you could have a clogged radiator, malfunctioning thermostat or faulty radiator fan.
  • whasian085whasian085 Posts: 3
    hey everyone. normally when something goes wrong with one of my cars, my honda dealership quotes me some rediculous price to fix it. for example, my front brakes, the pads and front rotors were shot. honda wanted to charge me $350 to replace all that with OEM stuff. well i managed to upgrade my rotors and pads to AEM and brembo for less! this has happened a few times now. the most recent thing that may need changing now i have NO IDEA about. i know most of how car parts work.. but for this one i need help. honda says my "front wheel bearings and hubs" need replacing. they want to charge me $800 for this. i tried to find upgrades on the net.... but i found nothing at all. is there a way i can upgrade these or get them done for cheap, or should i bite the bullet and pay out the $800 for OEM replacements?? thanks alot for any help you can give.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,798
    hey everyone. normally when something goes wrong with one of my cars, my honda dealership quotes me some rediculous price to fix it. for example, my front brakes, the pads and front rotors were shot. honda wanted to charge me $350 to replace all that with OEM stuff. well i managed to upgrade my rotors and pads to AEM and brembo for less! this has happened a few times now. the most recent thing that may need changing now i have NO IDEA about. i know most of how car parts work.. but for this one i need help. honda says my "front wheel bearings and hubs" need replacing. they want to charge me $800 for this. i tried to find upgrades on the net.... but i found nothing at all. is there a way i can upgrade these or get them done for cheap, or should i bite the bullet and pay out the $800 for OEM replacements?? thanks alot for any help you can give.

    With such vague information it is very diffcult to give advice. Try going to an independant shop, their prices will be half of what the dealer qoutes you. How do you know that bearings a hubs need replacing? Do you have oversized wheels?

    I changed my brakes on the Si to Brembo Blanks and EBC Green Stuff pads and never looked back. The stockies warped on me once, Honda cut them under warranty, second time, they said that I had to replace them, and they would split the cost with me. I told them to forget it, got parts from Tire rack and changed them myself.
  • whasian085whasian085 Posts: 3
    well they told me the bearings and hubs need replacing because in their opinion.. "they're worn down and extrememely loose, which is a safety concern"
    car seems to be driving perfectly though..

    i guess i'll just take it to a second shop and see what they think about it.
  • I have a 2002 Civic EX and I needed a new transmission at 53k miles. Weird. I am very unhappy with the car and I'm looking to sell it. Automatic transmissions should not fail on a three year old car...
  • gx222gx222 Posts: 32
    Sorry to hear about your transmission failure. It seems Honda has a very poor track record when it comes to automatic transmissions.

    I have a friend whose Accord tranny died shortly after the warranty expired and Honda did nothing to help. Honda used to have a strong reputation for quality but sadly that seems to have gone by the wayside.

    My '03 Civic has a long list of problems, many of which seem to be common design or manufacturing problems. I'm still in the warranty period but I am getting tired of visits to the dealer and their inability to fix things.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,603
    Extremly rare for a Civic to have transmssion problems.

    Still, things can happen to the best of cars.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    Where's the problem free car? The one where all of the are perfect. Not one single complaint on Edmunds. That costs the same as the Civic. Is as safely rated as the Civic, Get as good gas mileage. And sells as many copies yet has so few complaints. Heck even the Camry forum has complaints and it's supposed to be bulletproof.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,387
    I know this is a "Problems and Solutions" thread, but KUDOS so far for a 2004 Honda Civic 4 door VP automatic. It has been FLAWLESS. It is due an oil change at 10,000 miles. This is just normal scheduled maintenance.
  • terristerris Posts: 1
    I just found out that our check engine light on our 98 Civic is due to a cracked manifold. I have the same questions as you. Did you find out anything about how this could have happened and/or any information regarding any related service bulletins and/or recalls.

    Thank you so much.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,387
    Just did the 10,000 mile scheduled maintenance interval (per checklist). Jacking this vehicle was an absolute breeze. Once the car was in the air and on jacks, it went very smooth. The tires wear is dead even across each tread (outter, middle, inner) and the rotation was completed. I will let another 10,000 miles sneak up on me! Sometimes it is good that the news is BORING!!

    This is not a criticism, but I wish Honda would go to an evacuation system like the VW Jetta TDI. I spent more time "cleaning up" the tools and equipment than it took to do the actual scheduled maintenance interval.
  • alarming9alarming9 Posts: 10
    Anyone have the procedure to unlock a Honda Radio 1992 Accord. Have the code. Thanks
  • purple6purple6 Posts: 1
    I realize you posted your message a while ago but I just bought a used Civic Ex Automatic (94) and I am experiencing the same problem. I just had the transmission fluid and filter changed but it seems to have a little (minute) trouble when shifting from 1st to second and 2nd to 3rd. I also found that by lifting up on the gas pedal a half second it shifts automatically. I am wondering what you did about the problem. Will I need a new transmission? Or how long can I hold out as you did for two years- meaning at what point do I have to do something about it? Any advice you (or anyone else) can provide on the issue is deeply appreciated as I am a novice and trying to save money.
    Thank you.
  • stan6stan6 Posts: 2
    I have a 1998 Honda Civic which I purchased new. I rarely use it as I live in Washington DC and take the subway. It has 9000 miles on it and it is in (I think) perfect condition. I took the car in to the dealership for a oil change. He said that Honda recommends that the timing belt be changed every seven years. He also stated that the price would be from $650.00 to $700.00. Should I spend that kind of money when the car only has 9000 miles on it and runs perfectly? Also, a friend was telling me that Honda Civic's have timing chain on them when rarely if ever break. Is he right?


  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,387
    Check your specific model and year technical data to be sure. I do not know each and every specification, but my 2004 Honda Civic VP automatic has a timing BELT!!

    If I can project!! ?? The technical data indicates 110,000 miles/7 years. With 9,000 miles it is an easy case to make mathmatically to say you have 101,000 miles to go.

    On the other hand the 7 years time frame serves as a baseline. The dealer can make a case that given the manufacturers recommendation of 7 years, they can not be held responsible for the damage if the belt breaks. (establishing fearful doubt?)

    What they do not tell you is they are probably not responsible for the damage if after they change the belt the belt breaks and causes damage. They might however in the fine print gurantee the belt and labor for like 12,000 miles but the damage they alluded to would probably not be covered. Again the best is to see the written guarantees.

    I am not saying YOU should do THIS... BUT... IF the vehicle were mine, this is what I would do. Most vehicles in 7 years will go an average yearly 12-15 k miles. That of course translates to 84,000 to 105,000 miles. This is also hidden in plain sight: Honda recommends a timing belt change (among other things) 110,000 miles/7 years. Mathmatically this would indicate 15,714.285 miles!!!! Hmmm seems to be a coincidence here?? So given my 2004 Honda Civic 10,000 mile first oil change recommendation, YOU are not even past break in!!!

    Let us know what you decide.
  • yleecoyoteyleecoyote Posts: 32
    Discounting wear, which your belt doesn't have, that leaves age. Rubber compounds do age over time, one factor being ozone. The belt has fiber inside which actually carries the load with the rubber matrix of the belt holding the fiber in place. To better visualize, think of a fiberglass structure. The strength is in the fiber, but left alone they just flop all over the place. The epoxy cured without reinforcing fiber will crack apart when subjected to force. Put them together and you have a very strong structure.
    Your belt is the same. Despite rumors to the contrary, it won't just go from looking brand new into a broken belt. If you visually inspect the belt, you will see signs of wear and aging. Wear is fairly obvious, fraying on the edges, missing rubber teeth on the side where the belt touches the pulley are extremes. Less extreme are smaller cracks on the flat surface of the belt, the surface of which may also start looking glazed rather than flat black.
    The belt is fairly easy to inspect by removing the upper cover. You can then rotate the belt by turning the engine over by hand with the igntion off, or by bumping the ignition. Not the best idea, but some people drive with this cover off which makes inspection on a regular basis easy.
    You should be able to make a pretty good judgment call after looking at the belt if you should replace it or keep going. But remember, you are the one taking the gamble. We all have different tolerance for risk. If the idea of the belt being out of the maintenance replacement tolerance will bother you every time you drive, replace the belt for peace of mind. If on the other hand you are willing to assume the risk, keep an eye on it and keep driving. Mine is almost at 180,000 miles and four years, and it hasn't been replaced.
  • stan6stan6 Posts: 2
    Thank you both for replying to my message. I have decided not to replace the timing belt. If I was planning on taking a long trip out of town or if there were some symptoms that indicated there was something wrong with the belt, I would probably have it replaced. However, since I have AAA to come pick me and or my wife up if the belt breaks, and since we drive the car so infrequently, I see no need for me to spend all that money on a timing belt. I also note that the service writer at the dealership stated that Honda recommended that the timing belt be replaced every seven years. He did not state that the technican found anything wrong with the timing belt. He did not even state whether the technican even checked to see if there might be something wrong with the timing belt.

    Thanks again for your responses.

  • civic1998civic1998 Posts: 1
    The check engine light on my 1998 came on and after connecting the diagnostics meter from autozone to the onboard computer, the O2 sensor(bank 1 sensor 1) was diagnosed to be the problem. I changed this sensor, replaced the spark plugs, sanded the distributor contacts, and cleaned out the air intake. The car runs much better now, however, even after resetting the error on the computer, the check engine light came on after restarting the car a couple of times. While replacing the O2 sensor I did find a crack in the exhaust manifold, and was wondering if this would cause the O2 sensor to malfunction? The car' runs a lot more smoothly when idle, and the fuel utilization has improved as well. Prior to replacing any of the parts (O2 sensor, spark plugs etc.) the car felt like it was about to die whenever idle. Any help would be appreciated!

  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    While replacing the O2 sensor I did find a crack in the exhaust manifold, and was wondering if this would cause the O2 sensor to malfunction?

    It would cause the O2 sensor to do what it's designed to do, sense excess oxygen in the exhaust stream which the engine control computer would interpret as a lean air/fuel mixture.
  • miket99miket99 Posts: 6
    My 2003 Civic is locking me out of the car. Today the Honda alarm system locked the doors after I unlocked the doors and opened the trunk. After I had the trunk open for about a minute, the alarm system locked all the doors (like its supposed to) but then I pressed unlock on the keyfob to unlock the doors again but the door lock on the drivers door only went up a quarter inch, then went back down.

    I kept pressing unlock but the same thing kept happening, the drivers door lock would go up a little bit then right back down. Using the key in the door will not work either. HELP!
  • I need some help to resolve an issue with my 2000 Honda Civic. 80K and counting, but recently the car started running hot and happens at most times during heavy stop and go traffic or long periods of stops. At 70K, I replaced the Water Pump, all needed rubber tubes, and bearings. I suspect the issue to be either with the thermostat or ECT switch. How was I able to bypass the ECT switch and turn on the main fan at will if needed which accounts for the fan as ok by disconnecting the thermostat ECT sensor by the Thermostat housing. Second, major indicators show a rise from mid to 3/4 readings when this happens in which I will have to turn on the heater to reduce heat. With this not much time is needed to overcome the issue. But I would like to rule out the problem further prior to changing parts left and right. Third, having the AC on or off did not make much of a difference and was hoping that the 2nd fan will do some assistance in cooling. I guess this is the problem when you reside in Phoenix Arizona. Thanks for all the help...
This discussion has been closed.